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The Brain Drain Malady

The Brain Drain Malady

Advertising is not in a good place in Malaysia, and probably won’t be in the next five years, explains veteran copywriter Hema Thambirajah. By Iman Alia Anuar.

Malaysia is currently experiencing a creative draught and it’s not getting any better. That seems to be the consensus among media pundits and the fault lies within the country itself. Inksight explores the issue from the perspective of Hema Thambarajah who has over 20 years of experience in copywriting.

One fault she says, is in human resource. Apparently, there is a difference between how advertising agencies scout for talents in Malaysia and overseas. “Here, cialis generic there is generic viagra a lot of cronyism going on. The people that are hired upfront aren’t necessarily the most creative people. It’s how much is viagra without insurance the people who appear to be the most creative in terms of appearance, behaviour and everything else,” says Hema, who has previously worked as a senior copywriter for Ogilvy and Mather Kuala Lumpur.

There is no way of assessing the creativity of newcomers unless they are tested. She explains: “The truth is that at entry level, it’s hard for agencies to hire because they still don’t know what these people’s talents are. Their work in college or university can’t really gage what they can do.”

On the talent shortage that is happening here in Malaysia, or in other words, brain drain, Hema first notes the passing of a late distinguished filmmaker and executive creative director. “The truth is there are very few real brains here in the industry. We lost a great mind, Yasmin Ahmad. No one could come close to her. Of course, there are the award winners but there are very few of them here,” Hema says.

So what happens to the ones who aren’t actually winning awards? “Let’s face it. A lot of others are just getting by with producing average work. It’s a case of who they know or how long they have been in the industry. It’s not cialis buy online usa that they are that good, it’s because they have enough experience,” explains Hema.

Additionally, the way of recruitment is another underlying reason behind Malaysian advertising being unexciting, old and forgettable. “Agencies don’t need to pay RM20,000 for a talented copywriter when they can have five average ones for much less. It’s a cycle,” describes Hema.

Sadly, local copywriters who are truly gifted are very hard to come by. Hema shares: “I know someone from Leo Burnett who is an award winner. He could not find any award-winning copywriters with the level that he was looking for within Malaysia.” Eventually, he was forced to import talents. “He had to look elsewhere in Indonesia.”

The bigger issue at hand is the reason why there aren’t many talents in any particular creative field. “If you didn’t hire creative people in the first place, how do you grow creativity? You can’t. Average people that are hired can only go so far,” says Hema.

Clients dictate the fate of the industry. Hema credits them as another culprit of brain drain. It seems that the local industry does not encourage pushing one’s creativity. “We have clients who aren’t thinking and are very stuck in their ways. They would rather do the same thing over and over again because why fix something if it isn’t broken?” she continues.

As clients cialis online take the safe route, there is no room for creativity to grow and thus the best proposals don’t even make it out alive. Hema explains: “Out of the ten proposals put out for a campaign, nine will end up in the bin and these are the award-winning stuff. What happens is clients like and pick one but water it down to almost nothing.” In the end, the talents themselves suffer. “We have some award-winning people in the country who are probably dying of boredom.”

Nevertheless, it’s not too late for the local industry to attract real and authentic creative minds. According to Hema, clients shouldn’t be afraid of trying new things and encourage talents to challenge themselves.

“Malaysian advertising is not about to be in a good place for the next five years but it’s going somewhere. It’s truly creative and capable of being an optional job to people and some don’t see that so they venture out to other fields. It’s a dynamic buy viagra online field and there’s still hope for it,” she adds.

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